EXCLUSIVE PHOTOS: Neighbours war as backyard fight escalates

What started as a small neighbourhood dispute about an overhanging branch has escalated from the streets of Bundaberg to the office of the Attorney-General.

Kepnock resident Geoff Matthews is at a loose end trying to figure out what options remain open to him after offensive signs were erected above his fence line following a bitter dispute that he said began with his neighbour refusing to cut down an overhanging branch.

He said that matter went to Queensland Civil and Administrative Tribunal before it was resolved.

But now he faces a subsequent sign problem, where pieces of corrugated iron with offensive language such as "p--s off" have been erected behind his neighbour's fence and highly visible to Mr Matthews every time he ventures into his yard.

And it all seems perfectly legal.

Mr Matthews has taken his plight to Member for Bundaberg David Batt, who has promised to raise it with the office of Attorney-General, Yvette D'Ath.

"What I went to David Batt, the local member, about was to say 'there are no laws to protect anyone going through this situation'," Mr Matthews said.

Mr Batt's office yesterday confirmed it had been contacted by Mr Matthews and would follow it through with Ms D'Ath.

Legal advice indicated neither the screens nor the offensive material breached any laws in the Peace and Good Behaviour Act or any other legislation in Queensland.

The signs popped up in late September, though originally stood much taller.

They were lowered some time last week while Mr Matthews was away.

Mr Matthews' neighbour declined to comment.

"I'm going to say this is tantamount to bullying, trying to bully me into submission," he said.

Mr Matthews said he's resorted to calling police, which he said had proven ineffective.

"Police have got no power. They cannot act. They can only go so far," he said.

Another avenue he said he had explored was whether it breached council by-laws, but he said after a council inspection the signs were simply lowered.

Mr Matthews said he feared tensions were raising to the point where things could go wrong.

And while he admits things got out of hand months ago, he has given up on being patient.

"It's just continuous and relentless.

"I didn't think I was doing anything that warranted such a response."

Mr Matthews said he would like to see laws revised or introduced that prevent interaction between parties and stopped them from communicating under threat of penalty.

He said he tried to be as amicable as possible before the dispute escalated but now responded to every perceived slight in kind.

"I don't know what's next, where's the bottom line?"



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